An MP has spoken out about the risks of developing breast cancer in women with dense breasts, saying more awareness and understanding is needed.
Craig Tracey, who is also Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Group for Breast Cancer, pointed out there are “issues surrounding breast density” with relation to cancer risks, the Telegraph reported.
A woman who has dense breasts could be six times more likely to face breast cancer in her lifetime. However, these tumours could go undetected for longer, as they are often missed during screenings.
According to NHS research, as many as 3,500 tumours went undetected in 2016 due to inadequate testing procedures.
The newspaper reported Mr Tracey as saying: “Mammograms are obviously the main method of national screening and, while considered the gold standard, evidence shows that they are not as effective for women with dense breasts.”
The MP stated that tumours appear as white on tests, as does dense breast tissue, making it difficult to distinguish the two, and cancer is therefore overlooked in more than half of all screenings of women with dense breasts.
“The answer would be to change screening guidelines and offer further screening to those women at risk,” he proposed.
Similarly, The Karolinska Institute in Sweden also recently found that females who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of breast cancer advancing, as lumps often go undetected.
Lead author of the study D Fredrik Strand told the BBC that women with a high BMI should have screenings more often, as tumours are typically larger in ladies who are overweight when they are detected. This could be because they have been growing for longer if they were not found at previous tests.